Staff Profile: Kent Fitzhugh

Get to know our staff. We’ll be profiling them here so you can get to know who can help you grow your ideas.

What is your role in the Regional Economic Development Branch?Kent (2)

As an Agriculture and Rural Economic Development Advisor, there are several facets to the position that make it such an interesting role within the Ministry. Promoting programs that support both agriculture and rural economic development allow me to interact with a wide demographic across Renfrew and Lanark Counties, as well as rural Ottawa.  I also help build networks, connecting my clients not only to subject matter experts within Ontario’s Ministry of Agriculture Food and Rural Affairs, but introducing them to resources that can be found in other ministries, as well as other levels of government.

What initiatives or projects are you currently working on?

Right now, my colleagues and I are working on two very interesting initiatives:

  • Selling Food to Ontario Workshops, which brought food producers and processors together on March 2nd and 3rd to hear from experts who discussed how to expand into new markets, such as grocery stores, restaurants, food hubs, schools, colleges, universities and other public institutions.
  • The first ever “Teeny Tiny Places Summit” to be held on March 30th. This day will include a keynote speaker and discussions that will support our small communities efforts to be better places to live, work and play.

What do you most like about the work you do?

I really enjoy working with the communities in my area. I have a large geographical area to cover, which provides me with excellent opportunities to get out and interact with my clients. That time with them, face-to-face, is what really sets this job apart from others.  As an Advisor, you are well positioned to be the “connector”, by making people aware of tools, resources and subject matter that can help make their rural communities excel. All that and an amazing team of co-workers, what’s not to like!

What is your professional background or how did you become involved with Economic Development?

Back in 2004, I had just finished working on a project with the Department of Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development and had returned home to the town of Gananoque. The town had just completed their Business Retention + Expansion project, and fortunately one of the recommendations from that exercise was to hire an Economic Development Coordinator, a position I held for almost six years. From that role, I moved to the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing, working with municipalities from a governance perspective, again, for nearly six years, to where I am now as an Agriculture and Rural Economic Development Advisor.

What is the value add that you give OMAFRA clients?

I think my hands-on experience working as an Economic Development Coordinator in a small town in Eastern Ontario enables me to relate to the challenges that rural communities face. My work with municipalities from an operational/governance point-of-view also helps provide some insight as to how municipal governments work and how best to work with them.

How do people contact you?

Kent Fitzhugh
Tel: 613-258-8266
E-mail: Kent.Fitzhugh@ontario.ca

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